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Royal Mail rejecting postcard images considered to be ‘racy’

The company behind many of Britain’s classic saucy seaside postcards has been barred from putting a selection of the images on stamps because they are considered “too racy”.

Bamforth – which publishes the cheeky cartoon cards that are a familiar sight on seafronts across the UK – applied to have 10 of its pictures printed as a customised Smilers sheet by the Royal Mail.

But only three of the 10 were considered suitable.

Smilers are personalised stamps created by the Royal Mail for firms and individuals from submitted images which can be used to send letters, just like any other stamps.

They are often kept by customers as framed sheets.

Leeds-based Bamforth said it is furious about the decision given the millions of postcards which have been sent over the decades and the amount of trade this has generated for the nation’s postal service.

It called the decision “censorship gone mad”. The firm said it had carefully planned its Smilers submission and brought in postcard dealer Gary Worsnop to select 10 of the company’s 45,000 images to represent each decade from 1900 to 2000.

It sent off the proofs hoping to have them produced as limited-edition sheets.

But, it said, the Royal Mail rejected seven of the 10 chosen cards because they were “too racy” and “over-the-top”.

It said one was branded “anti-German” and claimed the Royal Mail even censored illustrations on the artwork which surrounded the cards.

Mr Worsnop said: “We cannot believe their decision. The Royal Mail and the GPO before them have made a fortune accepting millions of these cards for delivery as agents for Her Majesty and His Majesty’s mail.

“The Bamforth postcards are good, clean fun and have entertained the public for generations and will continue to do so.”

Bamforth chairman Ian Wallace said: “The Royal Mail will be making money this spring and summer delivering the very postcards they are objecting to.

“It is censorship gone mad. “I am going to appeal against their small-minded decision.” A Royal Mail oficial said: “Smilers allow customers to personalise their post by combining one of their own photos with a Royal Mail stamp.

“There are a number of restrictions on images which can be used on Smilers stamps, including images which may be deemed offensive or depict full or partial nudity.

“If any customer is unhappy with Royal Mail’s decision regarding their application for Smilers we would of course be happy to discuss this with them directly.”

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